Mother and son on sofa with an ipad

Mental Health and Parenting

Parenting can be a beautiful journey filled with love, laughter, and memorable moments. It’s also a path that often comes with its fair share of challenges.  

For parents dealing with mental health difficulties, these challenges can sometimes feel overwhelming, so, it’s essential to remember that you are not alone.  

There are strategies and support available to help you navigate the ups and downs of parenting when dealing with your own mental health issues. 

The balancing act 

Parenting at any stage, from baby days to the teenage years, can be a demanding job. When you’re also experiencing poor mental health, it’s crucial to find a balance that allows you to take care of yourself while providing the love and support your children need. 

Parents often feel guilty for wanting to take time for themselves, but you can’t pour from an empty cup, so make sure your needs are being met too.  

Strategies for parenting when you have mental health issues 


  • Seeking Support. In the early days, reach out to your partner, family, or friends for support. Having a strong support system can make a world of difference. 
  • Routine Matters. Establish a consistent daily routine for your child. Predictability can help both you and your child feel more secure. 
  • Self-Care Moments. Find small moments for self-care, even if it’s just a few minutes of deep breathing or a quick walk while your little one has a nap. 


  • Open Communication. Encourage open and honest conversations with your children about your mental health. Use age-appropriate language to explain what you’re going through. 
  • Set Realistic Expectations. Understand that you don’t have to be a perfect parent. Setting realistic expectations for yourself can reduce unnecessary stress. 
  • Model Healthy Coping. Demonstrate healthy coping mechanisms to teach your children how to handle their own emotions and challenges. 


  • Involve Them: Involve your teenagers in discussions about your mental health and support plan if appropriate. This can help them understand and empathise with your situation. 
  • Respect Independence. Acknowledge and respect your teenager’s growing independence while maintaining a supportive role in their life. 
  • Compassion. Be gentle with yourself, be kind but firm with your kids. Teenage years can be a tough ride, but your resilience can inspire your children. 

Caring for yourself 

Remember that taking care of your mental health is not selfish but necessary for both you and your children.  

A healthy lifestyle can have a positive impact on your mental wellbeing. Find ways to incorporate physical activity, balanced nutrition, and decent sleep into your life. 

Incorporating mindfulness and meditation into your daily routine can reduce stress and increase emotional resilience, even if it’s just listening to a meditation video on YouTube for 5 minutes before bed. 

Joining local or online support groups for parents or specific mental health challenges and sharing experiences can provide comfort and valuable insights. Ask your health visitor or GP for details of groups in your area.   

Seeking professional help, such as counselling, can provide you with the tools to manage your mental health effectively, which could help you manage challenges with parenting. 

Mental health and parenting may present unique challenges, but they are not mutually exclusive. By acknowledging your struggles, seeking help when needed, and implementing strategies to care for both yourself and your children, you can create a positive and nurturing environment in which your family can thrive. 

Please do get in touch to book a counselling session with me if you’re struggling so that your parenting journey can be a more enjoyable one. 

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